The field of education is constantly evolving. This has led to the disruption of current pedagogies being used and impacts the way teachers teach and students learn. The new wave of learning and education is influenced by the amalgamation of technology and teaching while focusing on continuous learning. Besides empowering students to be active learners, the new form of education lays emphasis on making learning content available and easily accessible outside the classroom. This new method of education is called ‘Online Education’ and is often referred to as eLearning.
What is online education?
Online education is a flexible instructional form of education that is delivered and administered using the internet. With the current paradigm shift focusing on promoting continuous and anytime learning, several educational institutions have leveraged online education in some form in their curriculum. In this model, the traditional classroom has undergone a major overhaul. Teachers and students now have access to a digital toolkit consisting of live virtual classrooms, digital PowerPoint presentations, practice worksheets, videos, recorded lectures, etc.
Growth of online education and the pandemic
Even before the current pandemic, several countries globally have been investing in eLearning. In 2016 the global e-learning market was worth $165bn, this is projected to surpass $243bn at a 5.08% compounded annual growth rate in 2022 (Statista Research Department). The accelerated growth of online education is on account of its several advantages:
Quality education at affordable costs
Accessible to anyone around the world from the comforts of wherever they are
Ensures continuous learning, reskilling and up skilling
Allows students to be part of a global classroom, thereby broadening perspectives and encouraging a world view on various subjects
Owing to the pandemic, digital education has received a massive impetus. The current COVID-19 pandemic has led to a temporary closure of most educational institutes. To limit the disruption of education, UNESCO has proposed the use of distance learning and online education for schools, teachers, and students.
Online Education – The new normal
Online Education is the new normal and is here to stay. In the past several months, every school, college, and university has introduced an online version of their classroom curriculum. In a recent article on the future of education in India, post-Covid, Indian institutions will be allowed to offer up to 40% of their coursework online. With current regulatory changes and developments as well as the introduction of the National Education Policy 2020, online education has the opportunity to grow 10-fold by the year 2025 in India.
In a fast-paced competitive world where skills get redundant overnight the urgency for continuous learning to stay relevant is important. Online education encapsulates this need and is key to transforming eLearning into the principal global educating system of the 21st century.